autumn 2018
BIO-3610 Industrial Biotechnology - 10 ECTS

Last changed 29.01.2019

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 15 April for the autumn semester.

Application code 9371.

Type of course

For students taking the Marine Biotechnology - master program the course is mandatory. The course can be taken as a singular course, but there are limited number of places (12). The master's students in biotechnology will be given priority. Other students gain access to vacant seats.

Admission requirements

A bachelor's degree in biotechnology, marine biotechnology or equivalent education.

Required background in biotechnology:

  • Basic biology, chemistry, cell and molecular biology and organic chemistry (1000 level, 1st-2nd year).
  • In-depth specialisation must also have been undertaken at the 2000 level (2nd-3rd year), as a minimum, in chemistry/biochemistry (min. 10 credits), microbiology (min. 10 credits) and molecular biology/methods in molecular biology (min. 10 credits).

Course content

The course covers various marine biomolecules (proteins/peptides, enzymes, marine lipids and carbohydrates) that can be used industrially. Fundamental technical issues, and the industrial processes and biotechnology involved in the processing of marine raw materials, are studied. An introduction will be given to large-scale industrial biotechnological plant and the challenges posed by this scale of production.

Examples from interesting current projects in research and industry will be used to introduce the research that underlies production processes. The teaching includes company visits, for example to Nordic Pharma and Biotec Pharmacon. The students will also become acquainted with a company (Marealis) that develops bioactive peptides from prawn shells, which have a blood-pressure lowering effect.

The lab course includes normal laboratory work, plus a scaling-up exercise in the process laboratory in the hall (pilot plant) at Nofima Tromsø. The laboratory teaching is carried out under tutorial supervision and suitable protective equipment/precautions such as gloves, coats, working under closed hoods etc. are mandatory. Challenges posed by scaling-up production methods from lab to pilot and then industrial scale are studied, including a good introduction to the processes that may be involved, in Nofima's new bio-process plant (Biotep) in Kaldfjorden outside Tromsø.

In practice, the plant is a small factory capable of handling a variety of marine raw materials. At the Biotep plant, high-technology businesses can receive help with transfering research results from the laboratories, to produce products on a small industrial scale.

The objective in biotechnological production of various kinds is to ensure knowledge-based industrial development. The emphasis is on optimising and improving utilisation of the (residual) raw material in a manner that adds value to the product and is sustainable.

Recommended prerequisites

BIO-2606 General and marine biotechnology

Objectives of the course

On successful completion of the course, students will have achieved the following learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding. The candidate

  • has advanced knowledge about processes for putting to use molecules with unique characteristics
  • understands industrial biotechnological exploitation of marine raw materials
  • has a thorough understanding of marine molecules such as proteins/peptides, lipids and carbohydrates.
  • understands how the raw materials are generated in the industry, the importance of them being handled correctly to ensure good quality and how this in turn affects the end product.
  • knows that there are challenges, both research-wise and financial, in creating an expanding bio-economic industry
  • has advanced knowledge of current R&D issues and the related commercial potential, especially in marine biotechnology
  • understands industrial bio-processes and the challenges involved in scaling up from laboratory to industrial scale.

Skills. The candidate

  • has a theoretical and practical understanding of the different stages in an industrial biotechnological process
  • is knowledgeable about the application of the end products
  • possesses both individual and teamwork skills, and
  • has the skills to carry out a laboratory assignment and compile the results in a report

Expertise. The candidate

  • can describe processes for utilising residual marine raw materials and the application of the products.
  • has knowledge of Tromsø's local biotechnological industries and their products

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Lectures, seminars, a compulsory laboratory course (dry lab and process hall) and submission of a written report.


Home assignment. Marked with letter grades A - F, where F is fail.

Work requirements: Admission to the exam requires attendance on the laboratory course and an approved laboratory report.

Re-sit: Students who did not pass the previous ordinary examination in this subject are entitled to a resit.

Recommended reading/syllabus

Lecture topics

  • Industrial biotechnology in a global perspective
  • (Micro) algae in biotechnology - basis and application
  • Marine biotechnology
  • From lab to retailer - commercialisation of biotechnology
  • Enzymes from marine sources. Industrial processes
  • Peptides from marine sources
  • Macroalgae in biotechnological adaptations
  • Fish oil production in Norway - Process history
  • From fish to crude fish oil
  • Refining crude fish oil - production of natural oils
  • Fish oil concentrates

Other. For the home examination, the students will find relevant study literature in the library and in databases.

  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: BIO-3610